Ultravox returned later in 1977 with the punkier Ha!-Ha!-Ha!. Sales of both the album and its lead single, “ROckWrok”, were poor, both failing to register on the UK charts. “ROckWrok” had a punk-lyric chorus, with the words “Come on, let’s tangle in the dark / fuck like a dog, bite like a shark”. (Despite this, it got airplay on BBC Radio 1). Although Ha!-Ha!-Ha! was dominated by guitars and electric violin, the final track, “Hiroshima Mon Amour”, was a prototypical synthpop song. One of the first tracks by a British band to feature a drum machine (a Roland TR-77 with preset patterns), the song signalled a new direction for Ultravox. The energy, anger, and popular appeal of punk was fading in 1978, and the more creative UK punk-genre talent sought new directions—calling themselves British New Wave instead of punk rock artists. “Hiroshima Mon Amour” remains a critic’s and fan’s favourite from the group’s initial period. Ultravox! also performed it on the Old Grey Whistle Test later in 1978.
[via Peter Holmgård]